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[FYdI] Ach so.


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Minister of State
for The Armed Forces
Ministry of Defence
Main Building

Mrs Anne Campbell MP
House of Commons

16th April 1999

Dear Anne,

Thank you for your letter dated 19 February to the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office and the Home Office. You enclosed an e-mail
from Mr Cooper, soon to be a constituent of yours, regarding
his concerns about the operations of RAF Menwith Hill. I am
replying as the Minister responsible for the United States
Visiting Forces in the United Kingdom.

Perhaps it would help to say first that RAF Menwith Hill is
a communications facility, part of a world wide defence
communications network, run by the US Department of Defense
and serving US, UK and NATO interests. It operates with the
full knowledge and consent of HMG and we consider it to be
of the highest importance to this country's defence stategy.

The allegation that RAF Menwith Hill intercepts telephone calls
of British citizens is unfounded. The activites undertaken by
the facility at RAF Menwith Hill are not exempt from UK law in
any respect, and both UK and US staff at the base must conduct
their duties in accordance with UK law. In particular, the
Interception of Communications Act 1985, which applies to RAF
Menwith Hill as it does to any other facility. When it comes
into force next year, the Human Rights Act 1988 will incorporate
the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights in UK
law. These provisions will apply to the activies undertaken by
the facility at RAF Menwith Hill. No unlawful activity and
nothing considered damaging to British interests is, or would
be permitted to take place at RAF Menwith Hill and we are in a
position to be entirely confident of this as UK personnel are
integrated at every level.

I hope this explains the position and that you will convey this
to Mr Cooper.

Doug Henderson MP

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